09 Jan Watch ‘Lil B: Believe in Earth,’ a Rare and Based Journey with One of Rap’s Most Influential Artists
In 2009, the Berkeley, California, rapper Lil B, of teen group The Pack, released a song called “I’m God,” the latest in a series of stream-of-consciousness raps he had taken to calling based freestyles. It was the world’s formal introduction to the Based God, the source of pure inspiration and positivity responsible for this music.
In the years since, people have sought to understand Lil B “The Based God,” to draw a distinction between the two entities, to make sense of “based” philosophy and of what this rapper was trying to say. For some, the whole thing seemed as though it must be an elaborate joke: Here was an artist who had abandoned the proven successes of his career for a more abstract, confounding style. But for many others, it was a beacon of what rap might look like unburdened by the strict conventions of a commercial industry, freed by the democratizing power of the internet to express a full range of human ideas.
As those principles have played out, Lil B has quickly become one of modern rap’s most influential figures. He’s a musical trailblazer whose use of chant-like hooks and ambient production has seeped into the sound of mainstream rap, directly influencing prominent young artists like A$AP Rocky, Vince Staples, and Lil Yachty while indirectly impacting the sounds of countless others. His knack for promoting extra-musical phenomena—memes, the word “swag,” his famous cooking dance, and The Based God’s Curse of Kevin Durant—has had repercussions throughout pop culture. And above all, his philosophy of open-mindedness, positivity, and engaged curiosity has inspired a generation of kids online and artists who have followed in his wake. Lil B offers the constant reminder that love and curiosity are more powerful than the close-mindedness, fear, and hatred bred by many corners of digital culture and society as a whole.
Read more and watch ‘Lil B: Believe in Earth’ on Noisey